Unique plan to develop New Ross
Councillors were appraised of the new draft county development plan which they will vote on in May.
Deirdre Kearns of Wexford County Council said the local authority now has more powers to play a more influential role in supporting and promoting the economic development of towns like New Ross.
Ms Kearns said: 'We will have to look at it as the villages are failing or at least certain villages are failing, while certain villages within the Dublin influence are continuing to grow.'
Ms Kearns said the action plan for rural development has a significant number of schemes which will be suitable for villages across the district. She said not all towns will develop as strong retail towns. 'Some will have to develop as heritage towns, or as economic, or office hubs. We will have to look at the function of the towns and each town will have to have its own unique vision.'
Cllr Willie Fitzharris said the council needs to address the lack of sewage treatment plants across the county. 'We've a serious problem where we can't develop houses,' Cllr Fitzharris said, before asking if the council has any power to 'push' Irish Water into action. 'This is a crucial issue and it has been brought to the government's attention now as a submission on a national plan on planning, water and sewerage. Without them people will not stay in rural areas.'
Cllr Whelan said: 'There are rural villages that are losing family names; people are moving somewhere else.'
Cllr Michael Sheehan asked if the council has carried out research into economic data for the area.
'The data in the report is already outdated,' he said, adding that it is vital as councillors will be approving areas of the district for zoning of lands upon which houses will be built. Ms Kearns said the local authority is hiring a consultant to prepare a housing strategy.
'It is being outsourced as it is so critical. It will look at market analysis and the social housing issue and at vacant sites and calculate what needs to be done.'
New Ross Standard